Sunday, September 08, 2013

Three States To The Wind

We left Fundy National Park in the quiet morning and continued on to St John where we stopped for an oil change. This may have been a big mistake. We had brought our own oil filter because we knew nobody would have the right one out here but they also didn’t have the heavyweight oil we use. Convinced that it wouldn’t make any difference we let them put in 10/30 weight. Immediately there was a loss of compression and difficulty getting up hills as we drove south on the freeway. Uh-oh.

We managed to cross the border with a minimum of fuss. The border guard was a picky one and we watched him check coolers and trunks ahead of us. But he just peeked in the window and never asked us about food stuff. He was only wondering about whether we owned our house and demanded to know why we wanted in to his country! I guess heading home was a good enough reason because he let us go.

Once in Maine, we drove down to Acadia National Park and ran the gauntlet of tourist traps, lobster pounds and weathervane makers on the way to the causeway to the island. We unfortunately weren’t able to get a campsite in the busy Blackwoods campground and we were getting kind of tired by this point. It meant a 20-mile trip back up, across and down to the south-western point but we easily got into the much quieter Seawall campground.

Since the tide was out we took advantage and went tide-pooling at the rocky beach.


Mount Desert Island was named by Champlain because of the bare patches on the high granite mountains that make up this large island. The Seawall is naturally formed from smooth granite boulders and it has some lovely tide pools:


Several kinds of seaweed, periwinkles, shells and little barnacles. We didn’t find some of the things we have back home like sea anemones, hermit crabs and starfish. There weren’t any live shore crabs either, only a bit of dead remains. We looked in as many pools as possible but it was tricky balancing on the rocks.

We stayed two nights at Seawall so the next day we explored the island.


Here’s the Bass Harbor Head Light that’s still in use (unlike all our automated west coast lighthouses). The Flat Rats were going to picnic on the lawn but the light keepers had a sign on their house:

FR sign

“Grass grows by inches but dies by feet” so we left them alone.

Next we drove up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern coast and the place where the rising sun hits first in the US. It was so busy up there with all the tourists and busses and bicycles! Incredible views made up for the kafuffle.


That’s Bar Harbor down there with a Holland America cruise ship moored in it. There’s also a four-masted schooner sailing among the islands that we could only make out with binoculars. Later, after we drove slowly around the Loop Road checking out all the views, we saw her in the harbour.


She was just leaving for another cruise and we could have gone out in her but didn’t. Instead we had lunch:


Yes we had more than just beer! We watched other folk eating monster lobsters but I had shrimp and sweet potato fries and T had scallops and regular fries. I traded shrimp for scallops with him. Yum.

Bar Harbor is kind of a crazy tourist town, with horse-drawn carriages, boats to take you whale and puffin watching, the afore-mentioned schooner, inns, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and shops selling all sorts of souvenirs. We didn’t last long before we were heading back to the quiet campground.

Yesterday was one of those very long days where we had a lot of ground to cover. We continued on a small highway through lots of small towns and cities, across the rest of Maine, then New Hampshire and into Vermont. It was really stressful because the van was just not working right at all and there were a lot of mountains to go up and down.

We are currently in a campground in the Groton State Forest. Last evening we walked down to one of the ponds (I probably would call it a lake), Osmore. Pretty.


Then we saw a bunny on the way back to camp.


I like the cute white spot on its forehead. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of wildlife around here. Do you think the fact we heard lots of gunshots last evening has anything to do with that?

So here we are. The middle of a forest in Vermont. It’s been raining but now the sun is out and it’s cold. It’s Sunday. And we need to find somewhere where we can get an oil change. The guy at the booth has been really helpful but there’s only so much he can do. But we can’t keep driving the van like this. The Speedy guy in St John screwed us by putting in even lighter weight oil than he said. Of course he shouldn’t have even touched the oil because It Was Just Fine! T is kicking himself. Too late.

I’m sending this from the campground booth thanks to Mr Nice Guy. There’s a shop nearby that has the right oil and can change it for us later this afternoon. Yay! Hopefully we’ll be on the road again soon.

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